Directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber, starring Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Christine Taylor, Rip Torn, Justin Long, Stephen Root, Joel Moore, Chris Williams and Alan Tudyk.

Stiller and Vaughn's comic genius went to waste in the sub-standard 'Starsky & Hutch', but if you're still smarting from that spring shambles, here's the film to cure the pain. Written and directed by rookie Rawson Marshall Thurber, 'DodgeBall' should assume classic status before August is even out.

Stiller is White Goodman, the messaniac boss of Globo Gym, a cross between a health club and cult with the motto 'We're Better Than You - And We Know It'. Across the road from Globo's clinical HQ is Average Joe's, a decrepit gym for the lonely, desperate and deluded, run by Peter LaFleur (Vaughn). With Average Joe's finances in worse shape than their patrons, White comes up with a plan to buy the property and rid his world of the eyesore. But the losers at Joe's won't give up that easily and decide to try and make it to the world DodgeBall (rules: hit people enough times and you win) finals and win the $50,000 prize.

With no gag falling flat and no one-liner wasted, 'DodgeBall' proves within five minutes just how weak most US comedies are. As Vaughn plays laid-back to within an inch of the floor, Stiller takes over the screen as the brilliantly unhinged, coiffured and moustachioed Goodman - if you loved Derek Zoolander, there'll be tears when you see the man whose mission is to "turn Frankenstein into Frankenfine". Thurber's grasp of the genre and how it works suggests one of the most brilliantly misspent youths in recent comic history: his supporting characters get great lines, Average Joe's regulars excepted, there's no excess fat and the pace never flags for the whole 90 minutes.

"If you have a goal, you might not reach it," muses Vaughn's LaFleur. "But if you don't have one, you're never disappointed." Make sure yours is to see this film as soon as possible.

Harry Guerin